Group EightMature

Jason handed out sticks to everyone at their table but Sarah.

“We had a change of plans,” he smiled at her with a glance to Lady Miriam, “per Lord Farquad’s request, you’ll be riding with Lady Miriam in group eight.”

“So they will be in my group?” Princess Allmarah looked up from her stick.

“That is correct, Your Highness.” Jason bowed and left to distribute the other sticks.

“I wonder who else is in our group,” Tralee spoke softly.

“We will find out tomorrow morning,” the Princess stated as she rose. Sarah tried to rise but the young woman waved her down. “Protocol is not needed out here, especially as you are wounded,” she smiled at Sarah. “Good night, may the Gods give you peaceful sleep.”

Sarah remained seated as she watched the crowd slowly filter out. Though nervous, Lady Miriam stayed next to Sarah until there were only a few stragglers left.

“Should we now go to bed also?” the young woman whispered.

 “I just want to be warm a little longer,” Sarah claimed, though truthfully she was hoping for a moment of Jay’s time.

Sarah, his mental voice jolted her awake from a slight doze, go to bed. I will be sleeping in Lord Farquad’s tirug.

Why? she asked concerned, noting that it was only the leaders left in the hall.

I doubt Lady Miriam would sleep well, should I stay in our tirug.

Sarah sighed and she slowly rose and prepared herself to face the cold. I don’t suppose you could walk me out?

No. Sarah looked over and caught Jason’s eyes. He gave her the briefest of smiles and she felt his disappointment that he couldn’t. Sighing once more Sarah tapped Lady Miriam’s shoulder.

“Come on, we better get some proper rest. Morning will be here before we know it.”

Morning did arrive before Sarah wanted it to. She felt as if she’d just gone to sleep when someone pounded on their door, calling out for them to wake up.

“Rise and shine and give Gods your glory, glory,” she muttered to herself rolled out of bed and got ready to face another day.

Looking to Lady Miriam who had started at the noise, Sarah wondered what she should do. Grand-Moyther Magdalene hadn’t said how long the bath took to work. For Sarah it had seemed instant, as far as she knew. Then again her forcing had been many years ago and she’d talked about it with many different people. She also hadn’t shied away from being social the way Miriam was but...

Jay? She sent out a thought and got an ‘I’m busy’ feeling back. She wrinkled her nose and then made a decision. “Ready for breakfast?” she asked Miriam.

The young woman looked up at her. “I am hungry...” the girl’s voice trailed off.

“Remember,” Sarah stated gently, “we are in a safe place. These men wouldn’t dare hurt you, and we already know that the Princess Allmarah and her maids are in group eight with us, so that’s at least three other women in our group. You can sit between me and one of them.”

The girl looked to her and then to the fire.

Are you coming to breakfast? Jason’s mental voice bore a note of command with its curiosity.

As soon as I can get Lady Miriam to come with me, Sarah told him. Would you ask Lord Farquad if his daughter was shy or out going, please.

There was a pause during which Sarah studied Lady Miriam. If she’d been outgoing then Sarah had an uphill battle to fight. But, if Miriam had been shy to begin with, then she wasn’t as bad off as Sarah feared.

His word was demure, Jason responded at last, and he too wants to know if you are coming to breakfast.

Patience, Sarah shooed him away with a metal version of Lady Abigail’s hand flourish. Holding out her hand to Lady Miriam she spoke, “Nothing’s going to happen to you, I promise. You’ll just sit and eat breakfast with me and Princess Allmarah, after that we can come back here. Okay?”

Lady Miriam looked to Sarah’s hand and then up to her face. “Okay,” she breathed as she took Sarah’s hand.

The End

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